Located on the south west coast of St Vincent is our nation’s capital, Kingstown (population approx. 20,000). Lovingly referred to as the “City of Arches” (you’ll see why as soon as you get here), Kingstown is a lively town and the close proximity of the wharf adds an extra vitality, noise and colour to the small but bustling capital. Arches, cobbled streets, magnificent churches and historic stone buildings blend with the functional and the modern. After exploring our wonderful architecture, don't miss the Botanical Gardens.
Kingstown's Historic Buildings
Kingstown has many buildings dating back to the 19th century. A walk through our City of Arches is a pleasant and enjoyable experience.Read more...
St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption presbytery and school is a combination of interesting architectural styles dating back to the 1800s. A steeple and sanctuary were added in 1877. During this century massive renovations undertaken by a Benedictine monk resulted in the present eclectic architectural style.
The nearby St George’s Anglican Cathedral, also built in the 1800s has impressive stained glass windows. St. George’s Cathedral was dedicated in 1820, financed in part from the sale of lands taken from the Caribs. The nave, the lower stages of the tower and the galleried interior are of the Georgian period. The two Victorians transcepts were added between 1880 and 1887. Ironically, under the chandelier is a large stone slab memorializing Major Leith, who allegedly duped and killed Carib Paramount Chief Chatoyer in 1795.
Located a little further along Grenville Street is the very pretty Kingstown Methodist Church.
In 1790 the Methodist missionaries purchased an old Roman Catholic Church and the congregation of many freed slaves helped to build the Methodist Church that stands there today. The church was dedicated in 1841. The belfry, a more recent addition, was erected in 1907.
Opposite the post office on Halifax St. is the old library which was which was built in 1909 through a donation of £2000 by the famous American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The lovely Carnegie Building is now shared by the St Vincent National Trust and the Alliance Française, and was declared a protected National Heritage Site with effect from February 4th 2009. The new library has moved to Lower Long Lane.
Along the seafront is Bay Street with the wharf, fish market, bus terminal and police station.
The cruise ship and ferry terminals are located on the southern end of the bay, near to the main wharf. Even without cruise ship and ferry passengers coming and going, this area is usually very busy with traders, trucks and men pushing large wooden barrows back and forth between wharf, warehouses and market.
Kingstown’s main produce market is located between Hillsborough Street and Bedford Street. The best days to go are on Fridays and Saturdays when hucksters and vendors from all over the island bring fresh fruits, vegetables and ground provisions to sell.
Along Bay Street, next to the main bus terminal, is the fish market. Definitely worth a visit, seasonal catches include mahi mahi, bonito and tuna. Watch vendors chop fish into steaks with large machetes, and deftly scale and clean them.
Upper Long Lane and Lower Long Lane are split by the central market. Long Lane is usually full of stalls, boutiques and street vendors. These streets are the main shopping areas and also where you will find banks and ATMs.
Located on the northern outskirts of Kingstown are the Botanical Gardens. Peaceful, lush, green and colourful, the gardens are home to a wealth of tropical plants, flowers, trees and birds.
Occupying 20 acres, the Gardens were created in 1765 by General Robert Melville, governor of the British Caribbean islands, as a plant breeding centre and 'to provide medicinal plants for the military and improve the life and economy of the colony'. Three acres were set aside for the established of a Government House. The Botanical Gardens is the oldest of its kind in the western hemisphere, and celebrated its 240th anniversary in 2005. On February 6th 2012 preparations for the restoration of the site were unveiled as part of the celebration of its 250th anniversary in 2015.
They are famous for being the destination of Captain Bligh’s second visit to the Caribbean in 1798 (his first ended in the infamous mutiny on the Bounty) when he introduced breadfruit to the island. A descendant of one of his original breadfruit trees thrives in today’s gardens.
Entrance is free, but a friendly guide will take you on an informative tour for a small fee. The Gardens is opened from 6am to 6pm daily.
Fort Charlotte is an historic fort with spectacular views overlooking Kingstown. It is located just to the west of Kingstown and perched at 600 feet overlooking the bay - a short drive from Kingstown.
Constructed in 1806, Fort Charlotte was a significant fortification that housed around 600 troops and a battery of over 30 canons. The canons were mostly pointed inland, to defend against Caribs.
With wonderful panoramic views of Kingstown it is certainly worth a visit.